Nissan Engineer’s Extreme Recycled Home Offers Inspiration

Coral Kanies is a 30-year-old Tennessee native living in Decherd. She’s also the engineer who has been selected to lead the team tasked with producing Nissan‘s first-ever U.S.-built fully electric motor, and she’s given herself an ambitious goal: to recycle 100 percent of the materials used in the production of Nissan’s forthcoming eMotor. Kanies has some experience with this whole recycling thing, as she lives in a house she built herself almost exclusively from recycled materials.

Those who choose to build this way soon discover that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Or, one homebuilder’s scrap materials is another homebuilder’s gain. Building with these kind of materials tends to add more time on the sweat equity side of the building equation, but subtract from the overall costs, as these kind of materials run, on average, 50-80 percent less than new ones. The Omeys of Portland, Ore., for example, remodeled their home using around 97 percent recycled materials. Remodeling costs, on average, will run you $300 to $500 per square foot, but this husband-and-wife team did it for just $134 per square foot, and that includes their 4.5-kilowatt solar power system and ground source heat pump.

Kanies home

image via Nissan

We imagine that finding new uses for the materials used in manufacturing the electric engine for the Leaf may pose more challenges than, say, finding old doors and reclaimed wood with which to build a small, energy efficient house such as Kanies’. Will her team at Nissan be able to achieve the kind of “extreme recycling” she achieved with her home in Franklin, Tenn.? We’ll be following this story as it unfolds, as the Leaf’s eMotor production in Decherd is scheduled to kick off in 2013.

“I take pride in knowing that Nissan is committed to zero emissions leadership and that I’m helping them reach that goal,” said Kanies, in a statement. “I immediately sort and reuse materials at home and we are taking this same approach with the production of the eMotor.”

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.